Expats eager to obtain a work permit for Turkey may have their hopes put on hold as the process is characterised by a large amount of paperwork and coordination.
Expats may be surprised to learn that requesting a work permit is a double-application process. Both the expat employee and the sponsoring employer must apply, with the necessary documents, to the appropriate bodies within 10 days of each other. The expat will be required to submit their application to their nearest Turkish consulate and their employer in Turkey will have to deal with the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Only those individuals who can prove they possess a specific skill not demonstrated by a member of the local Turkish population can qualify to receive a work permit. Furthermore, only a business entity formally registered in Turkey can submit a work permit application.
Theoretically, it follows that an expat who wishes to work in Turkey must have a job offer before pursuing the permit.
Expats should note that there are several job categories that the Turkish government has specifically banned foreign nationals from working in.
Applying for a work permit for Turkey
Work permits for Turkey are either granted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (within Turkish borders) or, if abroad, from the Consulate of the Turkish Republic.
An application must be accompanied by a letter from the employing company. Typically the letter must contain essential information such as the business's name, address and industry, as well as other specifics dictated by the Turkish state.
Normal processing time is approximately one month, but it may take longer. Work permits are dual-purpose as they also function as residency permits.
*Please note that visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their nearest Turkish consulate for the latest information.